Sunday, July 17, 2016

It's been way too long since I've posted (like, 2 1/2 years...yeah, that's a while).  Biggest news of late is that one of my poems won 2nd place in the Adult Division of the Dyer-Ives Foundation 2016 Poetry Competition!  And at the public poetry reading during the Festival of the Arts, I received some really nice compliments afterwards.

I plan to post more regularly again.  You never know what's coming!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Phases of Life


It's nothing new to be reminded that as our lives progress we can look back and see different phases we've gone through.  Good and bad phases.  Growing and withdrawing phases.  At the time we may not realize which type of phase we're in; but, it usually becomes clear (even if years or decades later).

I wrote this poem to represent one such phase in my life; it is dedicated to D.H.

          C.A. Van Til

The eaglet wriggled through jagged walls,
wetly slid, bumped, over rodent corpses,
(in varying stages of decay)
weakly flopped on the nest floor,
shivered under intermittent spring sun.

In summer’s shimmering heat,
safe within the nest, he was
nurtured, taught, fed;
until one day, forcibly tumbled
from molt-lined home, he
spread newly-feathered wings


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Heaven's Hug

I woke up this morning to the rumbling sound of thunder.  It's not just raining, either; it's pouring. Ah, spring in West Michigan:  cold, snow, hail, rain, a bit of warmth, then *wham* summer.   It's a really, really good day to stay home.

Thunderstorms always (yep, always) remind me of God's promise to Noah.

C.A. Van Til

Flashes of lightening crossed over the plain
Echoes of thunder cold driving rain

Strong trees were weakened bent with the force
Water rose higher, killed all in its course

Unholy screaming of nature destroyed
Earth lost its grip fell into the void

On all He'd created God's fury lashed out
Omniscient Creator - of that was no doubt.

All mountains below, peaks, valleys and hills,
Four-legged, flying, living feathers and gills were

dead in the deluge that covered the land.

Demons on Earth fled to hell whence they came
God's power soon halted their cruel tempting game - 

None left to torture, to lure or to kill
Only God's faithful were saved at His will.

Noah, his family and two of each kind
Animals were spared, beloved in God's mind.

Two of each creature in mercy God saved
Sheltered with peace the wild behaved.

Forty days later silence returned
From God's holy hand man's lesson was learned.

Slow dripping of water soft rushing of wind
The ark floated gently cradled living within.

God wiped the Earth clean swept evil away
Did no injustice ~ for his sin man did pay.

In His love for His people God promised that He
Would not flood Earth again 'tho sinful it be.

In remembrance of promise His bow He did place
To color the heavens:  a stunning embrace.

Monday, May 27, 2013

On Memorial Day we remember those who serve and defend our country.  My Dad was proud to be in the US Navy and passed along his love of the sea to me.

He used to sing, "I went to sea to see the world; what did I see? I saw the sea."  Always got a laugh.

So, to all who have served and are serving our nation ~ Thank you!   

C.A. Van Til

 Nineteen years since I
was warmed by your smile,
heard your laughter,
touched a t-shirt-clad shoulder,
shared peanut butter cups,
       caramel corn, British comedy,
asked for a father’s advice,
wrangled over a point of
   Reformed doctrine.

         My heart permanently shifted,
         Dad-shaped hole now misty
         where’s that picture?

Death is merged into my being,
a part of the present me;
tears have slowed but memories
torrent in my mind, trace
anxiety and comfort.

Make Believe

The loss of innocence is a sad and sometimes devastating thing.  Whether it comes through the process of aging or it's beat out of us through abuse, innocence is gone for most of us.

Local news agencies scour the globe looking for bad things to air:  earthquakes, fires, tsunamis, war, explosions; the list goes on and on.  And in today's technological world, we get to see it all in color.  Long gone are the days of handwritten letters sent home from war.  Our need for information - now! - has trampled over any remaining remnants of innocence.

I'm not advocating we all live in a Pollyanna world and attend a fund raising bazaar every weekend (who wouldn't want a slab of that cake?).  There needs to be a balance of staying in touch with the world yet remembering that we as Christians are living before the throne of God and our security is in Him.

We are called to a child-like faith.  Not a shallow faith, but a child-like one that wholeheartedly loves and trusts God.  He is our Rock; the One Who will never abandon us or let us down.
C.A. Van Til

Fairytale endings and storybook schemes
sparkle on pages dance within dreams

misty-eyed children untouched by this life
make believe dances no thoughts of the strife.

Youthful illusions fade as the sun
burns bleak reality into each one

bravely attempting to stand through the glare
barely recalling what was believed there.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Furnace

The Lord is always upfront and honest with His children.

He doesn't tell us we may have trials - He says you will have trials.  Trials that hurt both physically and mentally but are(somehow) for our good and His glory.  Most of the time we haven't a clue what the Lord is doing with us. We'd rather not go through pain and trials; they hurt.  A lot.  They disrupt and can permanently change our lives.  With changes we'd rather not make, thank you.

He calls us to trust Him. Complete trust.  I remind myself He is God, the Creator of the Universe and I'm a formed pile of dust.  But a pile of dust He loved/loves so much He sacrificed His Son for me.  And so I trust Him from within the trials He sends.  And wait for His revealing the reason to me, whether on earth or in heaven.

C.A. Van Til

angry snap-crackle
fire howls red fury
charred ash, remains shift.

flames skip-dance across
years, burning destruction,
hollow memories, pain.

children held in the palm of His hand.

"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
             Isaiah 48:10

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Playing Poetry with Words

I'm often asked what it's like to write poetry.

For me, it's really quite simple:  open my heart and let the words/feelings/beliefs pour out.  Although, to be totally honest (which I strive to be), there is a certain level the feelings need to be at before they will pour out in a coherent, someone may want to read this way.

Once in a while I plug away at a couple pieces of fiction I'm working on. And I kinda like what I've written.  The problem is I get bored easily; thus, the "couple pieces" of fiction.  If I keep working at my current pace, I'll be ready to look for a publisher in, oh, 10 years or so.

I don't get the same heart feelings writing fiction.  When I start writing a poem, my heart gives a sigh, knowing something is being released.  Whatever emotion it is (I'm trying very hard not to say good or bad emotion 'cause I've been taught that emotions just are.).  It took a while for me to accept that not all poems have happy endings; but, they don't.  If I try to force a happy ending, the poem objects quite vehemently.

So, I'm a poet.  I figure this is one of the gifts God has given me.  I totally get there's no money, little fame and maybe a self-published book in my future in regards to my poetry.  But, it's ok.  A corner of my brain keeps reminding me that some poets are like some painters - fame comes after they're gone.

C.A. Van Til

A poet heart smiles and answers in rhyme
Juxtapositioning moments in time
Creating new meaning with a twist of a word
Knowing that someday the voice will be heard.